act 2 review questions

1. Why do the incidents of Scene I take place at night and on the last night before the Ides of March?

This scene takes place at night because it adds to the dramatic effect, it makes what they are doing seem very mysterious and secretive. The reason it takes place the night before the ides of March is so that the conspirators are somewhat prepared, but not so much so that they begin to overthink it or doubt themselves.

2. Into what four divisions can Scene I be naturally divided?

Scene 1 can be naturally divided into these four sections:

– When Brutus is alone on stage, talking to the audience and telling them the full truth of what his thoughts are on the whole situation.
– When the conspirators have their late night meeting to make their plan for the next day.
– When Portia confronts Brutus and they have their very important talk where we learn that Portia is the noblest Roman.
– When Ligarius shows up late to Brutus’ house and instead of finishing his conversation with Portia, he leaves with Ligarius to meet up with the other conspirators.
3. What evidence is there in Scene I that Brutus has been much perturbed about the problem of Caesar?

It is clear that Brutus is still perturbed by this idea because if he was sure of the decision he was making, he wouldn’t be doubting himself so much and trying to convince himself continuously that he is truly doing it for the common good. More evidence of his preturbedness about the act he is going to commit is the fact that he is having nightmares still, leading all the way up to the night before this assassination is planned to take place.

4. By what line of reasoning does Brutus justify his decision to take part in the murder of Caesar? Do you believe his reasoning is sound or faulty?

He justifies killing Caesar by saying: “It must be by his death: and, for my part, I know no personal cause to spurn at him, but for the general.” I believe that this reasoning is sound, it shows us all the way through even after the act is done with that Brutus was in it for the general good. He stuck with his one goal of not letting it be for personal causes and he succeeded in that.

5. Write down the talk, as you think it might have taken place, that went on between Brutus and Cassius while the other conspirators discussed the point of sunrise. (Use blank verse preferably, and try to catch the style of Shakespeare).

Cassius: Brutus, we has’t some issues we needeth to break with.

Brutus: What wouldst those beest dear Cassius?

Cassius: First, the issue of shrewd Mark Antony. I bethink we shouldst receiveth did rid of that gent ‘long with Caesar, I feareth what that gent is capable of.

Brutus: That gent is not to beest feared, liketh I hath said that gent is but a limb of Caesar.

Cassius: Well as I trusteth thy judegment although I may disagreeth we shall doth as thee prithee and leaveth Antony un did harm.

Brutus: Thanketh thee cassius, we needeth to maketh sure we art v’ry did prepare f’r what is going to befall tom’rrow.

Cassius: Aye, I am eft and did prepare f’r the act we art about to commit. I just did want to maketh sure yond thou art eft, and acknown of what is going to befall.

Brutus: I am as well and I has’t faith in the group of men we has’t gath’r’d to holp us.

Cassius: V’ry well, alloweth us returneth to the group.

6. On what matters do you find Brutus and Cassius not in agreement after Brutus joins the conspiracy? How are their characters further revealed by the attitudes on these matters? How is the introduction of these points of dispute concerned with the development of the plot? Why do the conspirators permit Brutus to have his way on these issues?

The first issue that they have is the issue of taking an oath, Cassius wants the men to have to take an oath but Brutus thinks it is unnecessary and that they should just be able to trust the men. The shows that Brutus trust’s too easily and that maybe Cassius doesn’t trust these men enough. The second issue that these men disagree on is the issue of Mark Antony, Cassius wants to kill him along with Caesar because he believes him to be shrewd whereas Brutus thinks he is of no threat to them. This again relates back to Brutus’ problem of trusting and believing people too easily. The conspirators choose to agree with Brutus on these issues and they do this because they view him as their wise leader, who will know the best which may not be the case.

7. What dramatic purposes are served by the introduction of the conversation (a) between Brutus and Portia, (b) between Brutus and Caius Ligarius?

a) Conversation between Brutus and Portia

Shows trust and equality in their relationship, when he tells her to rise from her knees before they continue talking.
Shows that Portia knows how to use reason to convince her husband to tell her what is bothering him, instead of just nagging and ordering him.
The way Portia talks to Brutus shows us her respect for him, and how different she is from Calpurnia.
b) Conversation between Brutus and Ligarius

Shows us how distracted or unfocused Brutus can get because he just leaves Portia
Shows us that Ligarius is really believes in what the Conspirators are doing because he wants to be a part of it so much that he came to join even though he is very ill.
8. What is gained by reverting to the storm background in Scene 2?

The storm adds a lot of suspense and is really a crucial part of the play because it ties into so many things that are going to happen, and also brings to life many parts of Calpurnia’s dream.

9. Where in Scene 2 do you find evidence of Caesar’s superstition, arrogance, fatalism, vacillation, susceptibility to flattery?

We see his superstition when he does the sacrificial ceremony of the bull after Calpurnia tells him of her dreams
We see his arrogance when he tells Calpurnia that no one would ever hurt him when they saw his face, basically saying he is better than everyone and nobody would dare to hurt him.
His fatalism is shown when it is said that there is no reason for him not to go to work
We see his vacillation when he decides to go to work after he already told Calpurnia that he was going to stay home
Finally we see his susceptibility to flattery when Decius comes to pick him up for work and he automatically changes his mind about staying home after Decius says a couple nice things to him, and makes him feel special.
10. Compare the characters of Portia and Calpurnia.

Portia is very reasonable and understandable whereas Calpurnia is just very worried and naggy. They both have the same goal to keep their husbands safe but Portia went about it the right way that made her husband respect her whereas Calpurnia just begged Caesar to stay home not expecting and respect from him. Portia is a strong woman with a husband that respects her and treats her as an equal and Calpurnia’s husband just treats her as an object that he can do what he wants with and that doesn’t have a valid opinion or say in anything. In several ways Portia succeeds where Calpurnia fails.

11. Discuss the thought in Caesar’s speech, beginning, “Cowards die many times before their deaths”.

By saying this he is saying that when you are brave you just die when you die, but on the other hand a part of you dies every time you do something cowardly. When you are a coward you aren’t living life to it’s full potential because you fear so many things. Cowards fear death, but they are already dying because they are cowards.

12. Is it good drama for Caesar to be represented at the end of Scene 2 as being so friendly towards those who are shortly to assassinate him?

Yes, this is very good drama. By adding this is shows that the conspirators succeeded in keeping this a secret from Caesar and it really shows the audience that they are going to pull it off. It also makes the scene where he is killed much more full of betrayal and surprise because Caesar truly didn’t know it was coming, he thought they were going to crown him their king.

13. If you were producing the play, would you include or omit the Artemidorus Scene? Why?

At this point in the play I would omit this scene. Caesar never even got the letter he wrote so it truly served no purpose other than to make the audience curious, and let them create theories of how he may have learned the information that was in the letter.

14. Define “suspense.” How is the suspense of Scene 4 increased over that of Scene 3?

Suspense: a state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen.

The suspense is increased because it opens by showing Portia in a state of panic very worried about Brutus right after we learn of the letter Artemidorus has wrote to Caesar.

15. Aside from the increased suspense in Scene 4 over that of Scene 3, why could this scene be less justifiably omitted from a stage presentation of the play than Scene 3?

Scene 4 is more important than scene 3 because scene 4 answers a lot of our questions and makes us curious about what is going to happen next, it also gives us new feelings about Portia and her relationship with Brutus. Whereas other than the suspense it creates scene 3 just tells us things we already knew or could have figured out.

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